DOCBOOK2MAN-SPEC.PL(1) DOCBOOK2MAN-SPEC.PL(1) - convert DocBook RefEntries to man pages


nsgmls [ sgml document ]| sgmlspl

docbook2man is a sgmlspl spec file that produced man pages (using the -man macros) from DocBook RefEntry markup.

The program reads ESIS produced by nsgmls (or other SGML parsers) from standard input. Markup not found in RefEntry is discarded.

Its output, the converted man pages, are written to the current directory. If RefMeta information is not specified in a RefEntry, then the man page will be written to standard output.

The file manpage.links will also be created, which contains any aliases of the manpages generated. This file is in the format:

<man page> <alias

The manpage.refs file keeps track of XRef references. Note that if the input document has any forward references, then docbook2man may have to be invoked twice (the first time updating manpage.refs) to resolve them.

The SGMLSpm package from CPAN. This package includes the sgmlspl script that is also needed.

Trying docbook2man on non-DocBook or non-conformant SGML results in undefined behavior. :-)

This program is a slow, dodgy Perl script.

This program does not come close to supporting all the possible markup in DocBook, and may produce wrong output in some cases with supported markup.

Obvious stuff:

Fix docbook2man breakages found in the test documents, especially weird.sgml.
Add new element handling and fix existing handling. Be robust.
Produce cleanest, readable man output as possible (unlike some other converters). Follow Linux man(7) convention. As conversion to man pages is usually not done very often, it is better to be slower/more complicated than to produce wrong output. Also if someone wants to give up using DocBook for whatever reason, the last-converted man pages can then be maintained manually.
Make it faster. I think most of the speed problems so far is with parsing ESIS. Rewrite with C and/or get input directly from SP.
Support other (human) languages. But what to do with non-ASCII charsets? SGMLSpm doesn't report them and roff does not grok them. [Comment: text after enclosed lists (and SS blocks) will break docbook2man] If we do this, more people can use DocBook.

Copyright (C) 1998-1999 Steve Cheng <>

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; see the file COPYING. If not, please write to the Free Software Foundation, 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

11 February 2004